December was a quiet month for new retirement applications to close out 2018, but the backlog ended up much higher than it did in the year before.
The Office of Personnel Management has released its latest monthly report on the retirement backlog which shows that only 5,782 new claims came in and the backlog dropped by almost 6% from November to December to 18,019.
However, the backlog at the end of 2018 is 24% higher than it was at the end of 2017. This will be significant since January and February are normally the months when the most new applications come pouring in from the end of the calendar year, so expect to see it go much higher.
It will be interesting to see what role the shutdown plays in the retirement backlog as well. OPM has said that its Retirement Services division is not subject to furlough and continues work as normal during a shutdown, so that is good news for anyone who has put in a retirement application during the shutdown. OPM says that new retirees will get an interim annuity payment during this time until the application is processed.
However, OPM says that new retirees will likely experience some delay because OPM must wait on other agencies to submit all of the information needed to process retirement applications, and some of these agencies may not be operating during a government furlough.
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